(It Just) Has To Be .Net
Two long-term IT techies, with a penchant for Microsoft's .NET Framework, air views on whatever topics take their fancy.

The Wannabee Kitchen Gardener

I’m no gardener. Oh, I’ve dabbled in the past but soon lost interest. My wife would say I’m like that about most things. Last year, for the first time in ages, I decided to have a dabble with growing a couple of bits. I ended up choosing tomatoes, some chillies, a few herbs and some alpine strawberries.

It wasn’t an unmitigated success. I was doing well with the tomatoes until they were ultimately attacked with blight. In total, I probably got to eat about a pound of them. And they weren’t great tomatoes. My chillies managed a couple of fairly small but viable specimens. So I ate those straight off the plant. Same goes for the alpine strawberries. The herbs? Well, I’m not entirely sure what happened to those. There’s a pot with some sage in it still there. But otherwise, there’s not much sign of anything at all.

So, what went wrong? No point in blaming the weather (I have absolutely no idea if it made any difference). I put it down to primarily (a) lack of experience and (b) lack of commitment. My father-in-law turns out fresh produce by the barrel load and has been doing since time immemorial. What does he know that I don’t?

Well, this year, I figure I’ve got more experience than last year and, as is my wont, I’ve been reading everything I could practically lay my hands on about kitchen gardening. Theoretically, I’m right up there with the best of them. If only successful gardening was all based on theory...

So, what remains is to address the lack of commitment. I must admit that the current financial climate has given me something of a push in the right direction, as I look for easy ways to save a little money. Growing your own kitchen produce has to be good for the pocket, right? After all, it’s virtually free...

Hmm. Looking at how things are going at the moment, I’m not entirely sure that it’s quite as cheap as I’d imagined. What with tools, raised beds, growing medium, seeds, fertilisers and additives, it soon mounts up. I’m not expecting to make much of a saving this year. Let’s hope next year there’s some sign of payback!

OK, so let’s treat it as another hobby. That’s much easier, because collecting hobbies is one of my favourite hobbies. I’ve got loads of them. Another one can’t do any harm, right? The good thing about adopting a new hobby is that I don’t ever bother trying to justify them. I just jump straight in and see how it goes. Sometimes it works really well. My mother told me that computing was another of my “five day fads” when I decided it was to be my latest hobby (and could I have a ZX81, please?). That was getting on for thirty years ago and I get paid for doing it these days. Other times, it doesn’t work so well. I have a drysuit in the loft from my jet-skiing hobby. It’s right there next to my bowling balls. You get the picture...

Of course, what fosters commitment to a hobby is success. So, as long as I can produce lots of edible stuff from the garden, I’ll have been successful and that’s bound to spur me on to bigger and better things. Hmm. What about an allotment? And a greenhouse?

Well, it’s obvious I’ve got a lot to learn and lots of hard work to do (eek!). Why not stick around and see how I get on? Make yourself comfy and let’s see what happens as I try to make this thing work. If you’re really lucky, we might discover something interesting together. If I’m lucky, you may have some useful hints and tips to help me on my way. And if I’m not so lucky, you might just get a bit of a chuckle out of my amateurish failure.


Posted Feb 18 2009, 01:04 PM by Steve Morgan

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